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NHS Long Term Plan Offers Fast Support To Overcome Back Pain

The NHS Long Term Plan hopes to increase the number of providers offering specialist care at local GP surgeries in a bid to overcome back pain, arthritis and muscle, joint and bone conditions. As a result, the scheme could benefit millions of patients who can access fast support at their local GP surgery, rather than waiting for a referral to hospital.

The roll-out will begin thanks to the successful trial across 41 locations. During the trial, patients could choose to receive their assessment and treatment for musculoskeletal conditions at a nearby GP practice by a skilled physiotherapist or wait to see their GP and receive a referral to hospital.

The trial found that patients were overwhelmingly in support of the approach. Furthermore, feedback suggested very high patient satisfaction levels through the new plan. Further polls have found that patients would be happy to see a physiotherapist at the first point of contact.

With such positive feedback, the NHS will continue to expand the services available at GP surgeries and join up primary care networks across the country. Furthermore, patients will be able to book appointments directly with expert health professionals such as physiotherapists without requiring a referral or needing to travel to a specialist clinic.

It is believed that through this new approach each practice can free up 560 additional GP appointments a year and 70% of patients will be discharged after just one consultation while reducing the number of patients who require long-term physiotherapy by one-fifth. Consequently, the plan could reduce the number of hospital appointments by 30%. This not only reduces the pressure on NHS staff but can reduce appointment waiting times and reduce traffic and pollution by saving thousands of journeys.

The Chief Executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Professor Karen Middleton said; “The most important thing for patients is to see the right person at the right time and placing physiotherapists in GP surgeries allows them to do just that. It speeds up access to the expertise they need while reducing the likelihood of them having to attend further unnecessary appointments or undergoing tests they don’t require.”

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